Politics

Here’s What Defense Secretary James Mattis Told Troops At The Border

Getty Images - Chung Sung-Jun

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen visited Donna, Texas on Wednesday to meet with troops deployed at the border.

“We stand before you with mixed emotions,” Mattis told the troops.

The defense secretary told the troops to carry on, despite having to be away from their families during the holiday season. Mattis preached about loyalty and service, and about how the U.S. army serves as an example to the country as a whole. (RELATED: Mattis Talks Political Affiliation After Trump Called Him ‘Sort Of A Democrat’)

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrives to attend the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2017 graduation ceremony (Photo credit: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrives to attend the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2017 graduation ceremony [Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images]

“This country may not be perfect,” Mattis said. “But, the U.S. army is an example to the entire country.”

He talked about his experiences serving his country overseas, discussing the adversity he and his fellow troops often faced, and how loyalty to the country created a special bond that allowed them to overcome that adversity.

“Loyalty only matters when there’s 100 reasons not to be loyal,” Mattis said.

CALEXICO, CA - APRIL 18: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen addresses border agents before touring a replacement border fence construction site on April 18, 2018 in Calexico, California. President Trump recently bashed California Gov. Jerry Brown after a decision to limit the mission of California National Guard troops at the Mexico border. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

CALEXICO, CA – APRIL 18: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen addresses border agents before touring a replacement border fence construction site on April 18, 2018 in Calexico, California. [Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]

Mattis also discussed how hard it can be for troops not knowing when they are coming home.

“The dynamic is unpredictable,” Mattis said.

Central American migrants -mostly Hondurans- moving in a caravan towards the United States, board buses to head to a shelter in the outskirts of Zapotlanejo, Jalisco state, Mexico, on November 11, 2018. - The United States embarked Friday on a policy of automatically rejecting asylum claims of people who cross the Mexican border illegally in a bid to deter Central American migrants and force Mexico to handle them. ULISES RUIZ/AFP/Getty Images

Central American migrants -mostly Hondurans- moving in a caravan towards the United States, board buses to head to a shelter in the outskirts of Zapotlanejo, Jalisco state, Mexico, on November 11, 2018. [ULISES RUIZ/AFP/Getty Images]

Both Mattis and Nielsen discussed the importance of the mission and securing our border.

“This Country is very welcoming, but we have to carry out the law,” Mattis said.

“Border security is national security,” Nielsen said.